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Plateau killings: Real reason suspected Fulani militia attacked Bokkos—a Persecondnews exclusive

``The presidential directive states that there will be a 60 percent slash across the board, including all MDAs, the offices of the President, Vice President, and First Lady''

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On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2023, a series of devastating attacks across numerous communities in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State by suspected Fulani militia shocked both the nation and the international community.

The assailants reportedly killed over 200 people and injured about 153 others in the attack, which lasted over six hours in the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi council areas.

According to data from the United Nations (UN) International Organization for Migration (IOM), the attackers targeted residents, resulting in the displacement of 1,868 households and 13,310 individuals and also inflicting damage upon 1,190 shelters. The data also showed that 75 percent of the victims are females, while 25 percent are males.

Insiders who spoke with PersecondNews have provided fresh insight into the Christmas Eve massacre.

Raheena Nazareth, a native of Bokkos LGA, was lucky to have escaped the daredevils as she had left the village for Jos, the state capital, on December 23.

Unfortunately, her father, two brothers, niece, and nephew were killed in the vicious attack, and their family house was razed.

According to her, the assailants have been threatening to attack them on several occasions, but little did they expect that it would be on Christmas Eve.

“I had travelled to my village but left on December 23 to attend to something, only to hear about the shocking news on Christmas day. I immediately tried to reach my parents, siblings, and cousins to find out if they were okay.

“After calling for hours and not being able to reach them, I began to panic. Shortly after, my cousin returned my call and broke the sad news to me. I was devastated. How can one lose five family members in one day?

“These Fulani people have been bringing their cattle to our farmland to destroy our crops, and when we complain, they will threaten to attack and kill us.

“We have been reporting the threats to our traditional ruler, but he refused to do anything about it because of the gifts he gets from them. They always gift him cows and other things; he never lacks meat in his house. That is why they did not touch his house during the attack,” she narrated.

Persecondnews recalls that some women protesting the killings in the Plateau on Friday, January 6, 2024, burnt the house of the traditional ruler, Michael Monday Adanchi, in Bokkos Local Council of the state.

The women who came out in their numbers took to the street to protest what they called the indiscriminate arrest of youths in the area, describing those being arrested as “victims” of the terror attacks.

Luckily, the traditional ruler and other members of his family living in the palace escaped by a whisker, while security operatives who arrived later at the scene had a hard time bringing the situation under control,  Persecondnews gathered.

Also speaking, a native of the Gawarba community in Bokkos LGA and survivor of the devastating attack, Mr. Fidelis Isaac, narrated his near-death experience to Persecondnews in a telephone interview.

“I travelled from Abuja on December 24 to spend Christmas with my family in Gawarba village in Bokkos. The journey was stressful because of the December rush, so when I got to the village, I was really tired and couldn’t hang out with my cousins and friends as planned. I went to bed immediately after eating.

“I was sleeping when I heard a loud bang on my door calling me to come out and run for my life—that Fulani herdsmen were attacking the village before ours.

“Some youths in my village who were sitting outside discussing and enjoying the ambiance of Christmas noticed fire and houses burning in the village before ours. When they tried to go and check what was happening, they saw some people running towards our village. Immediately, they raised the alarm, telling people to run. That was when one of them banged on my door to run.

“I immediately got up, grabbed my shirt, and we ran into the bush to hide. However, some people were unlucky, as they were slaughtered like animals. 16 of our neighbours—women, their husbands, and their children—were killed by these Fulani herdsmen,” Mr. Isaac narrated.

Speaking about the cause of the attack, he said he believed it was a reprisal attack.

“Some of the attacked villages had before this attack chased the herdsmen out of their villages. They chased them away because the herdsmen were destroying their crops with their cattle.

“In one of the villages, when the herdsmen refused to leave, they burnt down their houses to force them out of their village.

“I believe they are the ones that came back for a reprisal attack. They hired more herdsmen from other places to help them carry out this wicked attack,” he added.

However, giving a new twist to the crisis, another native of Bokkos who resides in Jos, Mr. Sunday Bulus, believes the attack was politically motivated.

According to him, Bokkos, like other parts of Plateau State, is rich in mineral resources and has them in commercial quantities.

“My paternal uncle, who I grew up with after I lost my father, was brutally killed in the attack. He was killed, along with his wife and grandson. They are both very old. I went to see them on December 20 and gave them some things for the Christmas celebration. Little did I know that would be the last time I would set my eyes on them.”

“Bokkos has mineral resources in commercial quantity. They have a lot of tin ore and lead, and this has attracted so many miners. Tin is a hot cake in the electronics and electrical industry. It is widely used in the electronics and electrical industries due to its excellent soldering properties.

“Most times when there is a crisis in communities on the Plateau, especially those with mineral resources in commercial quantities, illegal miners usually benefit a lot. When people are displaced from these communities as a result of the conflict, the place becomes deserted, and it becomes easy for illegal miners to carry out their activities.

“Any group can be paid to attack any community for this sole purpose,” said Bulus.

Persecondnews gathered that this is not the first time Bokkos LGA has come under attack by Fulani militia. Conflicts have frequently occurred between Fulani herdsmen and Bokkos farmers over land. However, this is the first time such a large number of people would be killed in one attack.

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